Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture is boasting the largest strawberry production in Japan for 50 years in a row. There is even a strawberry -called Tochihime- that is sold only in this prefecture.
Various other strawberry varieties are also grown in the prefecture, including the leading Tochiotome, the Nyoho, a classical variety that has been popular for many years, and newcomer Sky Berry, which is quite large. The Tochihime is a rare variety grown for harvesting at strawberry-picking farms in the prefecture.
Watanabe Ichigo-en, a strawberry farm in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, has been growing Tochihime in its greenhouses since 2003. Hajime Watanabe, 45, the second-generation owner of the farm, said the harvest season for the strawberries is from late November to early May. December is a busy season with high demand for strawberries. Watanabe and others begin working in greenhouses from early in the morning, carefully picking the berries by hand and placing them in a basket on a hand cart. They check each strawberry to see if it conforms to standard.
Tochihime strawberries are sold at 18 tourism strawberry farms and farmers markets in Tochigi Prefecture. According to the-japan-news.com¸ sales periods and prices differ from farm to farm.